Archive for January, 2009

Death Sentence for Destroying Sales?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

SHIJIAZHUANG, China (CNN) — The former chairwoman of China’s Sanlu dairy was sentenced to life in prison and three others received death sentences Thursday in a tainted milk scandal that killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others.

Maybe we’re too easy on ourselves and our sales teams when they don’t produce.

Share this article with your reps if you want to make them grateful for a culture that accomodates mistakes and failure.

But use it to put a little pressure on them as well.

Going after the Government

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009


You are the Rep in Today’s Tale

Imagine this sales scenario.

You have an appointment with the biggest buying group on the planet – the GSA or Government Services Administration of the United States. These people do all the purchasing for the federal government – paper, computers, cars and more.

So you fly to Washington, D.C. and are led into an office that is wildly decorated. Unusual pictures hang on the walls. You gaze at bizarre ceramic figurines sitting atop the desk and office shelves are covered with eclectic knick-knacks.

This guy has some strange sense of style, you think. And the man’s voice welcomes you to the GSA.

You can’t ignore his “collection,” so you glance quickly across the sea of stuff and pick a small statue to comment on.

“That’s a Roman Centurion! Did you know that a Roman soldier who deserted the army had his armor piled on some logs and was set afire atop his gear?” You’re showing off a tiny bit of knowledge that two guys might find kinda cool. It’s a rapport play, and you think a pretty good one.

The buyer grins, no it’s really a smirk, and he asks what you have to show him.

So you’re caught a bit off balance by his all-business approach to a first-time meeting and dive into your presentation.

Twenty minutes later the call is complete and you get the sense that it’s not going to have a happy ending. And here’s why.

We are the substance of great amusement to these professional buyers.

In fact, in D.C., reps visiting the GSA are not sitting in an office full of dear, precious, personal items. The purchasing team of our government finds and displays odd artifacts because these BUYERS BET ONE ANOTHER, FOR EACH SALES CALL, ABOUT WHAT OBJECT THE SALES REP WILL COMMENT ON! In other words, our predictable behavior is a source of entertainment for buyers who have finally found a way to tolerate our obnoxious actions.

POSTMORTEM: A sales trainer from Washington D.C. told me this tale after it happened to a friend who sold there, and he was let in on the little secret by a secretary at the GSA. Are you so predictable that buyers anticipate your every move? Because if you are, it gets worse: These buyers are already familiar with all the closes your predecessors have used for 3+ decades selling. So later on in the sales process you just might be getting that smirk again. Find ways to distinguish yourself from others (the book, Sales Autopsy, has six or seven great ones). I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – memorable makes money!

Golfing, Dentists & Selling

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

A man and his wife walked into a dentist’s office.

The man said to the dentist, ‘Doc, I’m late and in a hurry I have two buddies sitting out in my car waiting for us to go play golf, so forget about the anesthetic and just pull the tooth and be done with it.

We have a 10:00am tee time at the best golf course in town and it’s 9:30 already. I don’t have time to wait for the anesthetic to work!’

The dentist thought to himself, ‘My goodness, this is surely a very brave man asking to have his tooth pulled without using anything to kill the pain.’

So the dentist asks him, ‘Which tooth is it sir?

The man turned to his wife and said, ‘Open your mouth Honey, and show him.”

Sales pros – funny story, but can you really control anther person? More poignantly, can you control a buyer?

One thing pounded into me when I grew up in selling was this; YOU MUST CONTROL THE SALE.

Here’s the bad news about that old school thinking – you can’t control the sale. Good news? You can TAKE CHARGE of the sale. There is a world of difference here.

You take charge by gaining agreement on the steps you and the buyer will take as you talk and walk through the possibility of working together. This strategy of gaining agreement is the single best indicator of sales skill, or talent, I’ve ever encountered.

It’s the single most critical strategy I teach in sales training. The module is called One Great Opening is Worth 10,000 Closes.

Track me down for details; or 1-847-359-7860.

Dan Seidman’s Sales Training Experience was recognized by Selling Power Magazine’s Sales Excellence Awards.

Mike Tyson & Selling

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

“Everyone has a plan, until you punch them in the face.”

Mike Tyson quote per ESPN 1-07-2009

Okay sales pros, buyers have their own plan for navigating the purchasing process. You have a plan for proving you’re their best choice.

Who gets to put their process into play?

Sales reps who set the rules of engagement – and gain buyer agreement for those rules – are significantly more successful than reps who show up and wing it or just pitch a memorized presentation.

This strategy, based on powerful psychology, is called a Behavior Contract. Counselors use it to attain change in the actions and attitudes of their patients. Isn’t that exactly what we want to do when we sell?

While I teach this in depth during the internationally-recognized Sales Autopsy Training Experience (a Selling Power Magazine Sales Excellence Awards Finalist), here is the strategy in brief…

Ask for a time commitment.

Ask for open, honest dialogue.

Ask for closure to end the meeting. Closure means getting agreement to buy, a definite no (that’s a goodbye), or a planned next step.

This is THE SINGLE BEST STRATEGY that exists in sales today.

You want the language you use to reflect your personality, but the steps are always the same.

This is difficult, initially, to implement, but well worth the time invested to adopt in every prospect dialogue.

Contact me for details on this fascinating and potent practice.

You use this idea and you’ll rarely get knocked out, ala Mike Tyson, from a sales call!